Using a glass muller to make a paste of ultramarine blue and distilled water
Mixing several values of blue with the egg medium
This week I gave a demonstration of the traditional manufacture and use of egg tempera. I used what is perhaps the simplest formula– just pure yolk blended with distilled water for the medium, and various water-based pigment pastes. This results in a luminous and durable paint film best employed in quick washes or single strokes. Perhaps in the future I will experiment with egg-oil emulsions for more versatility in blending.
Now that the demos are over, I am working overtime to finish my current paintings for the upcoming show at Fontbonne University.
Adding powdered Indian Red pigment to the molten wax medium
Finished collection of colors, with raw wax medium at the bottom of the photo
In preparation for a demonstration this week I made a new set of encaustic paints. The formula is a simple one– just bring natural bee’s wax into solution with about ten percent damar resin for the raw medium, and then mix in the pigment of your choice at the desired concentration. A modern “laser” thermometer makes it easy to ensure that your heat source stays within a safe range, so once those powdered pigments are coated with wax the only thing that you will inhale is the fragrance of honey.
Most of my familiarity with the medium comes from my friend and former professor Pat Schuchard, who literally brings the wax through the frame and beyond in his innovative works of sculpture and painting. The surfaces are soaked, incised, and inlaid with a rich lacework of colors. When they receive their final polish, the images collect light and exude a depth unique to the medium. If you want to see for yourself, check out Pat’s paintings here.